Rep. Nehls Asks Mayorkas to Secure Borders from Released Venezuelan Prisoners Among Caravans

Sep 23, 2022
Immigration
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C.  Today, Congressman Troy E. Nehls (R-TX-22), along with 13 others, sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas regarding the recent report received by the Border Patrol that instructs agents to look for violent criminals from Venezuela entering the United States.

It has been widely reported that the Venezuelan regime, under the control of Nicolás Maduro Moros, is deliberately releasing violent prisoners early, including inmates convicted of “murder, rape, and extortion,” and pushing them to join caravans heading to the United States. Some of the released prisoners have already been spotted within migrant caravans traveling from Tapachula, Mexico, toward our southern border as recently as July of this year, meaning they could already be in our interior.

“This bombshell report confirms what we’ve known for years,” said Congressman Nehls. “Our adversaries despise what America stands for and take pride in emptying their prisons filled with the most violent and sick individuals to walk the earth and send them to our southern border, where they know they’ll have no trouble getting in. Our overworked border patrol agents can only do so much when President Biden gives everyone a no strings attached invitation into this country.”

“Today, we continue to confront the growing threats posed to the United States by malign actors seeking to encroach on our national security. It would surprise no one if the Maduro regime has taken a direct page from Fidel Castro’s playbook to wreak havoc and undermine American security interests. If confirmed, it would be a repeat of the Mariel Boatlift where prisoners guilty of heinous crimes are making their way into our country with the intent to cause harm. The Biden Administration’s disastrous border policies contribute to unvetted criminals coming in, young children being trafficked by smugglers, billions in monthly profits to the cartels, and the influx of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances pouring into our country. We have an important duty to acknowledge the crisis happening on our borders and seek transparency and accountability from administration officials,” said Congressman Carlos A. Giménez (R-FL-26).

This letter was supported by Heritage Action and Numbers USA.

“The crisis at the border is a serious, long-term problem our country is facing.  President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas have dismantled every tool we have to stop the flow of illegal aliens across our border, allowing criminal organizations and terrorist groups to funnel dangerous people and deadly drugs into the country”, said Garrett Bess, Vice President of Heritage Action. “Now, it appears that Nicolás Maduro is taking advantage of our open southern border by emptying Venezuelan prisons and sending violent criminals to the United States.  Secretary Mayorkas must quickly address the concerns raised by Representative Nehls and give Congress access to the full report, but even more than that, he must begin fulfilling his oath of office by enforcing the nation’s immigration laws to secure our nation.”

Representatives Tom Tiffany (R-WI-07), Lance Gooden (R-TX-05), Jim Banks (R-IN-03), Lauren Boebert (R-CO-03), Pete Stauber (R-MN-08), Jody Hice (R-GA-10), Glenn Grothman (R-WI-06), Chip Roy (R-TX-21), Byron Donalds (R-FL-19), Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL-26), and Don Bacon (R-NE-02) also joined the letter.

Read the full letter below:

Dear Secretary Mayorkas,

We write you with serious concern about a recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intelligence report received by the Border Patrol that instructs agents to look for violent criminals from Venezuela among the migrant caravans heading towards the U.S.-Mexico border.

It has been widely reported that the Venezuelan regime, under the control of Nicolás Maduro Moros, is deliberately releasing violent prisoners early, including inmates convicted of “murder, rape, and extortion,” and pushing them to join caravans heading to the United States. Some of the released prisoners have already been spotted within migrant caravans traveling from Tapachula, Mexico, toward our southern border as recently as July of this year, meaning they could already be in our interior.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), between October 2021 and July 2022, more than 130,000 Venezuelan nationals were encountered after entering the United States illegally. As a result of the Biden Administration’s disastrous border policies, it is unknown how many violent Venezuelan prisoners have been released into the interior of the U.S., as identifying Venezuelans with criminal records is nearly impossible unless the individual admits their records to U.S. authorities. This will undoubtedly put our country in grave danger.

Therefore, we ask you to respond to the following questions:

  1. Does DHS have a projected headcount of how many released Venezuelan prisoners are expected to enter the U.S?
  2. What precautions is DHS taking to prevent these dangerous criminals from entering the interior?
  3. Is DHS aware of the current location or final destination of the released prisoners?
  4. How many Venezuelan nationals have already attempted to enter the U.S. at the southern border since President Biden took office? How many of them have a criminal conviction on their record?
  5. Have any of the Venezuelan nationals encountered at the southern border this year been suspected to be released prisoners?
  6. How many Venezuelan nationals encountered at the border have been released into the U.S. interior or are suspected got-aways? How many of these individuals have a criminal conviction?
  7. Is the U.S. able to access criminal databases in Venezuela to ensure violent criminals are not released into the country? If not, how are you ensuring Venezuelan nationals who are released into the interior do not have a criminal conviction?
  8. Have you been in contact with the Maduro regime or the Guaidó administration, which the United States recognizes as Venezuela’s legitimate interim president, about the recent report?
  9. Do you have reason to believe that the release of the convicts could be a purposeful geopolitical move specifically intended to impact U.S. national security? Do you have reason to believe the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) played a role in the deliberate releases?
  10. Please provide any Field Intelligence Reports from the last six months that indicate Venezuelan criminals are attempting to make entry into the United States across the southern border. Additionally, please provide any I- 213 forms from the last six months that indicate that Venezuelan nationals with criminal affiliations were concealing themselves within migrant caravans crossing the southern border.

America’s adversaries despise what our country stands for and are now sending their most dangerous individuals to our borders, where they will have no trouble getting in as a result of the Biden Administration’s failed immigration policies. Our overworked border patrol agents can only do so much for so long without your help. As members of Congress, we urge you to take steps Congressional Republicans have continuously called for to secure our borders and prevent these dangerous individuals from entering the United States.

Thank you for your attention to this serious matter, and we look forward to your prompt response.

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